All over the country, Pakistanis are celebrating the country’s 75th Independence Day with traditional zeal and fervour along with commemorative ceremonies being held in various cities.
The Independence Day celebrations began with the change of guard ceremonies at the Mazaar-i-Quaid and Mazaar-i-Iqbal in Karachi and Lahore, respectively.
A flag-hoisting ceremony was held at Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad, where President Dr Arif Alvi was the chief guest. President Alvi congratulated the nation on completing 74 years of independence.
He began by thanking Allah for helping Muslims of the sub-continent attain their own homeland and said “freedom is a great blessing”.
“Today we should reflect on the difficulties faced in the course of Pakistan’s freedom”, he said.
President Alvi paid tribute to the great leaders of the Pakistan movement, including Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Shah Muhammad Sultan, Shah Agha Khan, Allama Iqbal, Liaqat Ali Khan and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
“It was their sacrifices that have led us here today”, he said.
While discussing the challenges Pakistan faces, he talked about the ongoing race for weapons in the region and said Pakistan has been deliberately trapped, adding that despite this, the country, which was essentially an agricultural economy, managed to meet its food requirements and is now on the way to becoming an industrial country.
“Pakistan is also advancing in information technology”, the president said.
"When Pakistan’s history is written, it will show that we accomplished major tasks while facing many issues”.
“When India developed a nuclear bomb, Pakistan used its intelligence and developed a nuclear deterrent only seven years later”, he said, recounting the country’s achievements.
“Pakistan became a part of those powerful nations that protect themselves through nuclear weaponry”, the president remarked.
He further discussed how Pakistan dealt with terrorism when the situation in Afghanistan deteriorated. “We sacrificed 100,000 lives and lost $150 billion, but won that war”. On the occasion, the president also lauded the armed forces and the police for fighting against the scourge of terrorism.
“3,500,000 Afghan refugees came to Pakistan and we gave them refuge without depending on anyone else, showcasing our hospitality”, President Alvi remarked, adding that other countries often let refugees drown, but Pakistan strengthened itself ethically.
Speaking of other challenges the country faced, he mentioned the earthquake in 2005, the flood in 2010, and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Pakistan nation came together to fight all these odds and this is a show of your strength”, he maintained.
According to Alvi, throughout the pandemic, Prime Minister Imran Khan did not want people to die of hunger, a concept no other leader spoke of.
“Through data, the NCOC, the people of the country, and its religious clerics, we were able to combat this disease.” President Alvi said.
“The fourth wave is upon us, and I request all of you to follow SOPs. This is a test for nations, for the world” he remarked, adding that Pakistan showed good results, with an economy that is still successful.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also addressed the nation in a separate message.
“As we hoist our national flag to mark Independence Day, we must reiterate the firm resolve to uphold our national values of unity, faith, and discipline as envisioned by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah”, he remarked.
PM Imran said that Pakistan has sacrificed immensely and paid a hefty price due to the instability on its Western border.
“We have consistently stressed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. Pakistan will continue to support a negotiated political settlement for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan”, he stated.
“We want peace within and peace without, to pursue our socio-economic agenda”, he emphasised.
According to the premier, 'Naya Pakistan' has shifted its focus from geo-politics to geo-economics, with the well-being and welfare of the people being the topmost priority.
In their separate addresses, both the president and the prime minister stated that due to the universal recognition of the government’s policies towards the revival of the economy, their handling of the Covid pandemic, and environment protection, Pakistan can stand tall among the comity of nations.